Understand the Fundamentals
One lesson I learned from my engineering degree is the value of a solid foundation. For example, understanding basic calculus gives you 80% of the tools needed to solve the more complex problems.
This mental model is applicable to most technical fields but it’s also relevant in creative fields as well.
When you understand the first principles in a new creative domain, you can begin to break down what seperates the good from the bad. For example, in any room, you want a key element that someone will notice when they enter the space. This is known as anchoring a room.
With a strong foundation, and enough exposure and practice, eventually you can begin to seperate the good from the great. Great works are often experimental and challenge the status quo. They may not always follow the first principles which ironically is what makes them so unique. Identifying, or better yet, creating great art takes a strong foundation and great taste (among other things). The latter of which takes years to develop.